Winding Gear

The pit yard looking east towards Methley. The rectangular engine house for No 1 shaft is to the right of the tall chimney. The fitting shop with its pitched roof is on the right of the picture. The top of the headstock for No 3 shaft is just visible to the left of No 1 headstock. No 3 shaft went down 350 yards to the Beeston seam. The green lorry in the foreground is loading coal from a hopper.

The photographs on this page of Water Haigh’s steam driven winding gear were taken by enthusiast Bernard Mills on 30 January 1970. Coal production stopped in April that year but the shafts were used for salvage work underground for several months afterwards. The washery was also used for coal from other collieries and distributed by road until the site was closed in 1972.

No. 1 winding house. On the board near the far window was a list of the bell codes between the winding engine driver and the pit bottom indicating how far the cage should be raised or lowered to the different seams. It reads: To Raise 1; Stop When In Motion 1; Lower 2; Men 3; Raise Steadily 4; Lower Steadily 5; Low Landing 6; Flockton 7; Silkstone 8; Last Man To Ride 9; Telephone 10. The circular object below the board was a gauge which showed the position of the cage in the shaft. The winder’s controls are out of sight to the left of the photo in line with tbe board and gauge. Over the years sweat from operators’ hands wore grooves in the brake handle.
The winders kept the winding house in spotless condition and often worked in slippers as they constantly oiled the moving parts. This photo shows Albert Clark busy with his oil can. He lived at Methley and cycled to work along Fleet Lane. Visitors had to take off their boots and walk on newspapers laid on the floor.
The winding drum with the steel cable running up to the headstock through the wall. The plastic sheet on the guard rail was to stop oil from the steel cable being sprayed over the floor.
Another view inside No 1 winding house.
Looking up at the headstock to No 1 shaft which went down 249 yards to the Silkstone seam.